You may have already explored the commonly suggested external approaches to getting what you want. If you have, then you know that these approaches can be inconsistent -- working for a time but leaving you short of your goal or ending up being seen as manipulative.
For example, you are the one with outstanding creative ideas. You are early to work, stay late when the project is on a deadline, and see it through complete with details. You've done EVERYTHING you're supposed to do! And yet, when the boss announces promotions, you are passed over – again.
Daily, it seems, you wrestle with your colleagues about something that stops you from making progress — they don’t come to your meetings, or turn in reports as promised, or answer your emails. It always feels like a battle. In despair, you think [sigh], “Why can’t they do these things without me having to chase them down?”
Influence Challenges in an Ever-Demanding World
There are three major mistakes that people face when attempting to influence:
- Using a step-by-step plan that doesn’t work with everyone and in every situation
- Allowing good intentions to influence turn into manipulation when under pressure
- Implementing external practices that do not resonate with internal core values
Let's discuss them all in a bit more detail...
1.Using a step-by-step guaranteed plan that doesn’t work with everyone and in every situation
The premise is if you ‘do’ this then you’ll ‘get’ that. Because no two people are exactly alike, have identical desires, process information the same, or have the same characteristics, the ‘doing’ approach can often leave you disappointed and feeling as though you've failed. You've done everything you were supposed to so why isn't it working?
In order to be truly influential, you need strategies and areas of concentration that are customized to your particular needs and wants that support your natural talents. In order to get started being influential, you don't need to follow the same advice as everyone else. You need to take the first step and work on the behaviors that are right for YOU!
For example, Robert has to give a top client a tour of the company. He is told that in order to impress the client he needs to talk a lot, ask questions that lead the client towards a particular conclusion, and share future plans for company expansion. Now, that may sound good but Robert is an introvert - it takes time for him to warm up to people. He isn’t sure about the expansion plans and doesn’t believe he can lead the client to think a particular way. Robert isn’t ready to practice the ‘doing’ piece of influence. He lacks the assurance and courage to carry out this task. Expecting Robert to do something that isn’t in his nature, even though he had training on how to influence people, does not guarantee success. In fact, it’s a sure formula for failure and anxiety.
2.Good intentions to influence turn into manipulation when under pressure
In today’s fast-paced world, expectations are so high to sell that people begin to focus on making the sale -only. Sales representatives, business owners, and marketing agencies concentrate on strategic placement of words, promises, and wish fulfillment. Monthly sales projections cause pressure to perform. Pressure to grow the bottom line. Livelihoods, lifestyles and futures depend on it.
For instance, Carol was so desperate to move up in the company she began giving the boss ‘insider’ information about her competition within the company. It started with small talk about others to her boss. Then it graduated to office gossip about her peers. Carol ended up becoming a grown up tattletale at work. Through the course of several months, what began as her intentions to influence her boss in her favor actually ended up as manipulation of her boss. Carol was under so much pressure to be the best that she became untrustworthy – all in order to support her own advancement at the company. This couldn’t be further from her intention.
Authenticity is the key to gaining favor. But the desire for gaining something from someone can be so strong that you unconsciously cross the line between influence and manipulation.
3.External influence practices that do not resonate with internal core values
Rehearsing influence strategies and memorizing strange approaches can sometimes be difficult. It doesn’t always return the desired result either. But when these strategies and techniques come into conflict with your core beliefs and values then troubles begin.
Dissonance occurs when there is conflict between values and practice. Conflict results because a person’s values tend to be quite stable and people are unwilling to compromise them. It happens when there is an expectation to meet certain standards within a company or community organization regardless of personal values.
To illustrate, Brian is an executive with a top recruiting firm. He loves his job, likes the people he works with and earns great respect stemming from his ethical performance. In recent months, his employer has adopted a policy that encourages executives to ‘persuade’ clients into accepting candidates more quickly by creating the notion that qualified candidates are scarce.
Brian is torn between the external influence practice of scarcity, moving clients in a direction that he knows is not accurate. He believes this will generate problems ahead – for the client, the candidate, his employer, and mainly, himself.
It’s about the choice between compliance and commitment to values. When expectations or requirements interfere with core values it takes courage to correct the conflict or take a stand.
There you have it – the 3 BIGGEST influence mistakes that you need to be aware of.
Using someone else’s guaranteed plan, hidden manipulation tactics, or a practice that doesn’t click with your core values, continues to make the influence success you are chasing forever out of your reach.
Don’t let this happen to you!
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